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The Scarlett Letter: “A” is for Anticipation

As someone who works in digital, my friends and family often ask me what the future will look like. When will we see flying cars? When will we live on the moon? When will my dinner be made Jetson style?

Everything is connected. You’re phone, your watch, your rice cooker, you name it….it can be connected. We live in a world where anything and everything can done at the touch of a button.

But here’s the thing. I don’t want to spend my day pushing buttons and checking my wrist for email. I just want stuff to happen; to just work. In short I want magic.

“The future is a lot simpler than you think” — KK Barrett, Production designer (Her)

“Her” starring Scarlett Johansen is the best approximation of the future I want to live in. Walk into a room, the lights turn on and tweak the brightness as the day wears on. It’s reads your calendar and prompts you to wake up for a meeting or sees a plane ticket in your email, checks you in and calls you a cab.

“The future is a lot simpler than you think” — KK Barrett, Production designer (Her)

But you don’t have to wait for the future to arrive. It’s already here…in small bits. Google Now is an amazing but young service that anticipates your life beautifully and presents relevant information based on your search and email information. Nest is an wonderful learning system that adapts to your routine and temperature preferences.

Business need to understand how technology can make their products, experiences more magical. Surprise and delight customers. Make things simpler not more complex. The business who can figure out how to create magical experience will transcend category and industry. Just look at what Apple has done over the last dozen years.

The future is not a whiz bang overload of technology. It’s the absence of technology. Where you don’t see the technology but experience its magic!

As Leonardo da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Article originally posted to LinkedIn by Jeff Jenkins (CLAS ’99)

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